Power Rankings after Round 10, analysis, highlights, every club ranked, ladder, predictions, contenders, latest news – TOTOCC
Welcome back to the Power Rankings.
With the bye rounds nearly upon us, some of 2023’s big risers can see their paths to the top eight or top four. But does Richmond have one?
What are the Power Rankings? This is our attempt to rank every AFL club from best to worst. We take wins and losses into account, but also the quality of opposition faced and whether teams are likely to get healthier or improve going forward. It’s a little bit ‘who’s hot and who’s not’; part predictive, part analysis of what’s happened. If Team A is above Team B, we’d probably tip A to win if they were playing at a neutral venue this weekend.
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1. COLLINGWOOD (9-1, 131.3%)
Last week’s ranking: 1
Cruising feels like an understatement for the Magpies right now, and thanks to Melbourne’s issues they remain the only contender with a bulletproof case so far. Of course, Brisbane – the only team that has beaten them – finding form isn’t ideal but if Craig McRae’s men continue on their way, they wouldn’t have to play the Lions at the Gabba again. Is it a bit weird that the AFL has handed the Pies three byes over the next four weeks by the way? Though it’s a bit harsh they have to go all the way to Marvel for training on Sunday. And then they have to fly all the way to Perth for a light jog while some sore blokes in blue and yellow try and stop them?! Ridiculous. Anyway, King’s Birthday is 19 days away.
Next game: North Melbourne at Marvel Stadium, Sunday afternoon
Collingwood give Carlton the Blues | 02:29
2. BRISBANE LIONS (8-2, 129.9%)
Last week’s ranking: 3
Consistency. That’s what we think of when we think of the Lions right now. Seven straight wins, all by 21 points or more, all restricting the opposition to 13 goals or fewer, all convincing or at the very least a late blowout… Chris Fagan’s men just keep getting it done in such a way we have to give them more respect. And hey, that win over Collingwood just looks better and better every week, doesn’t it? This is what we thought Brisbane would be in the pre-season – a bloody good home and away team that just had too many weapons for most sides to stop, with a bolstered midfield that wouldn’t let them down. The surprise has been the defence, which has improved mightily. The latter is what needed to happen for the Lions to take the leap from top-six flotsam to genuine premiership contenders, and if it continues, they look bound for the prelims, at least.
Next game: Adelaide Crows at Adelaide Oval, Sunday twilight
3. MELBOURNE (7-3, 138.4%)
Last week’s ranking: 2
We want to believe more in the Demons, based on how they look on paper. They’ve just become weirdly inconsistent; or at least they’ve gained a weird grudge against Adelaide Oval? For the third time in six weeks, Simon Goodwin’s side were below par, and while they escaped one of those games with a narrow win over Gold Coast, they’ve now dropped games you’d expect them to win against Essendon and Port Adelaide. Maybe that doesn’t matter in the grand scheme of things, because they still have an enormous percentage and an inside track to the top four, but our pre-season flag tip is wobbling more than Collingwood, and more than Brisbane or Port Adelaide have in recent weeks too. Which is why they’re now behind them on the ladder – but in our rankings, we still have more faith in the Demons than Port (given the latter have been majorly helped by going 4-0 in close games).
Next game: Fremantle at the MCG, Saturday afternoon
Should the Dees give Gawn a hand? | 03:27
4. PORT ADELAIDE (8-2, 111.5%)
Last week’s ranking: 5
We tipped the Power to play finals this year because we figured their bad luck in close games would turn. We didn’t think it’d turn all the way around to a 4-0 record in games decided by less than two goals, but here we are. It makes the Ken Hinkley question an intriguing one; how much of this streak has been his coaching, how much has been superstar performances dragging them over the line, and how much has just been a reversion to the mean from a group that underperformed in 2022? You can weight those three categories as much as you like, but we think the latter two have had a big impact. The Power are good, no doubt. Off an 8-2 start, they can certainly make the top four. But do they genuinely feel like a premiership contender, which a top four finish implies? We just don’t see it yet; we think there’s a gap between them and the three teams above them, and even between them and Geelong at their best. But they’ve got time to close that gap.
Next game: Richmond at the MCG, Sunday early
5. GEELONG (5-5, 120.6%)
Last week’s ranking: 4
You could certainly make the case to drop the Cats even further in these rankings, right now they’re nowhere near where they need to be – specifically in the midfield. With Max Holmes added to the injury list this is one of the weakest centre bounce crews they’ve sent out in years, and they’ve been exploited in that area for their consecutive losses. Remarkably they haven’t lost three in a row twice in a season since 2006, and while you’d think back at home they’ll be too good for GWS, you just don’t know. We’re confident Geelong is still a top-four quality team at its best but the longer they go like this, the larger the gap between them and the actual top four may grow. It’s currently three games (given Brisbane/Port are 8-2, and Melbourne are 7-3 with a huge percentage), and while they’d be a very dangerous fifth or sixth-place side in September, they’ve historically needed to take advantage of the double chance…
Next game: GWS Giants at GMHBA Stadium, Saturday twilight
‘Kane Cornes won’t be back after that’ | 02:21
6. WESTERN BULLDOGS (7-3, 108.6%)
Last week’s ranking: 8
Now we’re believers. In what was clearly the most impressive win of the Bulldogs’ current streak, the Crows were made to look awful – and we rate the Crows pretty highly. While they’ll definitely miss Jason Johannisen’s run, their system has clearly stood up over the medium term, and Liam Jones is earning plenty of deserved praise (though we’re not sure about putting too much value in stats like ‘he kept X player goalless and then Y player as well’, because team defence is that much more prevalent than true one-on-ones over the course of the game). Their low percentage is getting to be a slight problem but then if you just win more games than all the other top four contenders, who cares? On our numbers which we use for the Run Home articles (coming post-byes), the Bulldogs have the easiest fixture from Round 16 onwards. They’re playing finals and there’s every chance they finally break that top four drought under Bevo.
Next game: Gold Coast Suns at TIO Stadium, Saturday night
7. ST KILDA (7-3, 120.1%)
Last week’s ranking: 7
They would’ve been thrilled to see a gap open up between their place in fifth on seven wins, and the pack of teams on five wins. It’s buffer room they may need, because the Saints certainly haven’t been too impressive in May. They snuck past the Giants, and any win on the road is a good one, and they should get back to 8-3 once again. But they sure don’t feel like an 8-3 team – so the question is whether they slide, and if so, how far? Well they’ve got nine games left against the bottom 10 (including this week), which again gives them breathing room. The wins should be there for a September appearance. But the teams below them are fighting hard and it may be a nervy second half of the season.
Next game: Hawthorn at Marvel Stadium, Saturday early
Saints victorious in GWS nailbiter | 02:14
8. ADELAIDE CROWS (5-5, 107.4%)
Last week’s ranking: 6
There’s being worse away than at home, and then there’s the sort of uncompetitiveness we saw against the Bulldogs. It’s hard to explain how the Crows were almost 100 points worse from one week (vs St Kilda) to another (vs the Dogs) – that’s not just them resting Tex. You expect a level of inconsistency from kids but it’s still a concern heading into what should really be the match of the round against Brisbane. The Crows’ ceiling, thanks to their offence, is good enough to beat a team like the Lions; and with teams like the Dockers, Bombers and Blues knocking on the eight (well, the Blues’ knock is a bit more faint), they need to keep winning. With Gold Coast in Darwin and West Coast to home before the bye, it’d still be a big disappointment if Adelaide isn’t at least 7-6 at the break. From there you’re needing six more wins to play finals – with winnable games against North Melbourne (Round 16), Essendon away (Round 17), GWS (Round 18), Port (Round 20), Gold Coast (Round 21), Sydney (Round 23) and West Coast (Round 24) left. It’s definitely doable.
Next game: Brisbane Lions at Adelaide Oval, Sunday twilight
9. FREMANTLE (5-5, 101.6%)
Last week’s ranking: 12
The only caveat we want to put on the Dockers’ last two wins, which have inarguably been impressive and important, is the state of the opponents. The Swans’ midfield has been woeful in recent weeks and the Cats’ is as weak as it’s been in years. So yeah, Fremantle is No.1 in the AFL for clearance differential and scores from clearance differential over the last three weeks, but that’s skewed by the opposition (before the Swans and Cats were the Hawks). They’re inarguably better than they were in the opening month of the season and back in the finals mix at 5-5, but because of their early-season stumbles they’re going to have to keep pulling upsets like Saturday’s over Geelong – though they’ve got two very winnable games in their final three (West Coast in Round 22, Hawthorn in Round 24). Are the Clayton Oliver-less Demons gettable at the MCG, like we saw last year? Despite our doubts we’ve seen enough from the Dockers to raise them over an Essendon team that also won last week.
Next game: Melbourne at the MCG, Saturday afternoon
Harley Reid: 2023’s no.1 AFL draft pick? | 00:48
10. ESSENDON (5-5, 102.6%)
Last week’s ranking: 9
Saturday night’s thrilling, drought-breaking comeback against the Tigers was one of wins that can push you into September – for numerous reasons. There’s the obvious emotional boost. But then there’s the sheer numbers game of it all. Per Champion Data they’ve had the hardest draw in the AFL in the first 10 rounds – and yet have won five games – and have the easiest the rest of the way. A lot of that is their four remaining games against West Coast and North Melbourne, with two to come over the next fortnight. Maybe the Kangaroos aren’t a dead cert to beat, but the current Eagles are, and you’d be shocked if the Bombers didn’t win four from four against the two leading wooden spoon contenders. That gets them to nine wins, needing just four more for a massive shot at the top eight. Their winnable remaining games include Carlton (MCG, Round 13), Fremantle (OS, Round 15), Port Adelaide (MCG, Round 16), Adelaide (Marvel, Round 17), Bulldogs (Marvel, Round 19), Sydney (Marvel, Round 20) and GWS (GS, Round 23). Well, some of those are less winnable than others, but four wins from that group sounds entirely realistic. Essendon can play finals. Really.
Next game: West Coast Eagles at Optus Stadium, Saturday night
11. GOLD COAST SUNS (4-6, 96.1%)
Last week’s ranking: 11
You can understand Stuart Dew’s frustration after Saturday night’s loss to the Lions, because a season-defining upset was within reach until things blew out in the final term. The Suns are still showing signs of growth but now they enter a critical fortnight ahead of the bye, where an off-field decision could limit their on-field chances. We understand the financial and societal benefits of playing two ‘home’ games in Darwin – and they’ve got their NT Academy rights to take into account as well – but they really are quite a bit better at Carrara. If they lose narrowly to the Bulldogs, or Adelaide a week later, it wouldn’t be unfair to ask whether they’ve cost themselves premiership points because of fixturing. Let’s not have a go at them before the games actually happen of course; they produced two big wins in the top end last year. But that was against the Hawks and Kangaroos, not genuine finals contenders.
Next game: Western Bulldogs at TIO Stadium, Saturday night
‘It’s easy to see him at another club’ | 02:33
12. RICHMOND (3-6-1, 99.5%)
Last week’s ranking: 10
It’s hard to maintain our view on close games, and how heavily dependent they are on luck – which is based on decades of statistical realities across all sports – when you’ve got outliers like Collingwood and Richmond going around. We know the Magpies’ story by now but the Tigers just can’t cop a break, going winless in their last 12 games decided by a kick. And we really mean decided by a kick, after Rhyan Mansell’s on-the-full miss in the final minutes, where even a point would’ve likely ensured the Tigers couldn’t lose. Overall this year the Tigers are 0-2 with a draw in close games – coincidentally they’re two wins and a draw out of seventh. The margins are that tight this year, and now the Tigers’ margin for error to actually play finals in what should be Trent Cotchin and Jack Riewoldt’s final year is getting incredibly small. Unfortunately those close losses likely contributed to Damien Hardwick’s growing frustration and exit; as he basically conceded in his press conference on Tuesday, he effectively reached the conclusion there would be no Last Dance-style final championship. And while they could still sneak into the eight, there is a cleanliness to his sudden exit if they miss out, as a clear line of demarcation where we can say the Hardwick-led dynasty era is over.
Next game: Port Adelaide at the MCG, Sunday early
Dimma roasts Riewoldt on the way out | 01:08
13. CARLTON (4-5-1, 99.6%)
Last week’s ranking: 13
Let’s try and spin things in a positive light, since no-one else is. Yes, the Blues have lost five of their last six games… but they’ve also lost them to Adelaide, St Kilda, Brisbane, the Bulldogs and Collingwood. That’s the teams currently 8th, 5th, 2nd, 6th and 1st on the ladder. So while it’s disappointing they aren’t winning, and it suggests they’re not on that level, these are at least understandable losses; the competition is pretty even and so the Blues, not playing at their best, are losing. If you accept the reality that the Blues are a mid-table team then this all checks out; it’s not like they’re losing to West Coast or North Melbourne. Of course, that reality is the problem… man, we really got off track with the ‘being positive’ thing. They simply have to beat an injury-ravaged Sydney – and Michael Voss is right about them needing to fix their defence more than their attack. The former will help the latter.
Next game: Sydney Swans at the SCG, Friday night
Blues effort levels just not there… | 02:03
14. SYDNEY SWANS (4-6, 98.3%)
Last week’s ranking: 14
Maybe it would’ve been better if they’d lost. It would’ve been the shock to the system some of the Swans – the ones still in the side that are severely underperforming – needed. Instead they escaped the Kangaroos game with a win for reasons entirely out of their control; that’s not to say they wouldn’t have pinched a winning goal anyway, but it’s hard to argue they deserved the points in the way they got them. The funny thing is, Sydney could bounce right back and beat Carlton this week, and be right on the cusp of the top eight anyway. Their percentage is still good for their win-loss ratio. But their post-bye fixture is pretty brutal, with just four games left against teams below them on the ladder, so they’re going to have to make some major improvements to be a genuine finals contender at this point. We’ve lost confidence in them.
Next game: Carlton at the SCG, Friday night
15. GWS GIANTS (3-7, 85.5%)
Last week’s ranking: 15
That was more like it. The Giants were back at their surprisingly competitive best against St Kilda, and you’d suggest if they were a bigger club there would have been more furore over the Xavier O’Halloran (sorry, “Brent”) 50-metre penalty in the final minutes that basically ensured they couldn’t come back. With more home games to come over the ensuing weeks we expect GWS to put a few more scares into some finals-level opposition but they’re not a finals contender themselves, that’s pretty clear at this point. And that’s also completely fine for where their list is at.
Next game: Geelong at GMHBA Stadium, Saturday twilight
Mistaken identity ends in 50m penalty | 00:36
16. HAWTHORN (2-8, 73.7%)
Last week’s ranking: 16
The stark contrast between two of the strongest clubs of the 2010s was on display on Sunday. Both clubs took too long to recognise a rebuild was going to be needed, but the Hawks drafted well with their late picks in the interim to make up for it, meaning they’ve already got a handy little group of young talents (as compared to the Eagles, who basically have one draft’s worth of kids and Oscar Allen). Given how destroyed West Coast is right now, we wouldn’t take anything out of the game or the statistical output of the Hawthorn players from it… but it was just nice to get a comfortable win, wasn’t it Hawks fans? Took you back to the glory days of pumping every team that had the misfortune of being sent down to Launceston.
Next game: St Kilda at Marvel Stadium, Saturday early
17. NORTH MELBOURNE (2-8, 66%)
Last week’s ranking: 17
We knew the difference between North Melbourne and West Coast was the former being a year or two ahead in their rebuild; the Kangaroos have more young talent already at the club. That was on display on Saturday with George Wardlaw showing some very impressive signs on debut, Harry Sheezel continuing to shine as he pushes for the Rising Star, and overall a lot more promise than we’ve seen in weeks from this group. The last-second bench catastrophe was a real shame, because they deserved the emotional release a win would’ve provided, though it may be the best thing for them long-term. We really don’t think they were tanking by making that interchange error; it was clearly an unfortunate mistake. BUT having said that… if you WERE going to tank… that’d be a good way to do it (because the players aren’t at fault).
Next game: Collingwood at Marvel Stadium, Sunday afternoon
Ageing Eagles in deep future trouble | 04:48
18. WEST COAST EAGLES (1-9, 55.4%)
Last week’s ranking: 18
There were some suggestions on Sunday night this was the lowest point in West Coast history. That seems a bit unreasonable given the actual human impact and long-term fallout of the drug scandal – people ended up in jail. But on the field, you could argue that was the worst loss to the team on the bottom of the ladder in VFL/AFL history; it was the second-biggest, but the biggest was by a Magpies team that ended up making the Grand Final, so they weren’t a proper bad team like these Hawks are. The real problem is there’s nothing you can do. You can’t force players to not be injured. There’s no point sacking Adam Simpson; he is very clearly not the problem and if he wants to see out this lengthy rebuild, he’s got the credits in the bank and the talent to warrant the opportunity. Eagles fans, and the club itself, just have to live through this.
Next game: Essendon at Optus Stadium, Saturday night
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